Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kitchen Helpers

What would I do without all my notes?  Be completely lost and confused, I think. This simple little post-it stuck to the inside of my pantry door has solved lots of arguments about whose turn it is to help me in the kitchen. You can see from the dates that I'm not too good about letting them help me often.  It's taken almost four months to get through five kids!  I just have to be in the right frame of mind and have the time, or it's a bit stressful. 

I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions about cooking with kids.    

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maybe We Shouldn't Get a Dog...

Frodo, Sam, and Gandalf the Grey only lasted two days at our house. When I asked the kids if they wanted to say 'goodbye', Kevin quipped, "Nah. We didn't even know 'em." I guess that's looking on the bright side. Not enough time to get too attached.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

O'Reilly 250

Q: What has 5000 legs and 100 teeth?
A: The front row at a Nascar race!

I received an email at work several weeks ago about a drawing for 2 tickets to a Nascar race at the Kansas speedway. I secretly prayed that God would let me win and he did! Not only that, he doubled the blessing and I got 4 tickets instead of 2... God is good!

On Sat. afternoon I took our two boys and Noah's best buddy, Liam, to the track. We were able to see 40 laps before the race was rained out. Once it started raining I thought it would be a good time to take shelter in the concourse and grab some food. I was horrified when I saw the prices: Hamburger $5, Hot Dog $4 (a la carte). I suggested to the guys that we go to McDonalds instead... No one objected so we headed for the car. I'm glad we did, 'cause as soon as we got to the front gate it really started coming down!

We made it to McDonalds relatively dry and unscathed. After we finished our meal, one of the employees approached me and said that a tornado had touched down nearby and that we needed to take shelter in the bathroom or leave. Since we were headed south, I decided to take the boys and go on home. As soon as we all got back in the car, Liam suggested that we pray to God for protection. Why didn't I think of that?! We quickly said a word of prayer (I prayed with my eyes open!) and we made it safely home.

I am grateful to God for his many blessings, his protection, and the gentle reminder from a little boy that even though we get 'big' we are never too 'big' to ask for help... Thanks, Liam.
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."" (Mt. 18-1-4 ESV)

Monday, April 27, 2009


We had a great time camping this weekend, despite cracks from the other families about our enormous tent. The smell of "Off", the early morning sound of tent zippers, smoke from the really brought back memories of camping with my family as a child. The only thing we didn't have was Tang. My Mom was the Queen of Tang. At home, she was Health-Food-Granola-and-Make-Your-Own-Yogurt-Mom. But for camping...she brought out the good stuff.

There was a little pond and boat so the kids were able to enjoy that, as well as just general running around and acquiring layers of mud. I hope we're able to go again soon and get lots more use out of that colossal tent.

Thanks, Jenia, for the pictures! Kevin may not be too crazy about the one with his eyes closed, but it's the only one with any of our kids in it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Paint Colors

I had to laugh today when I realized that I'd unintentionally picked almost the exact same paint color for the exterior of our house that I have on the inside. I'm sure this says something deep about me in a psychological sense....maybe, that I'm boring?

Here's a picture showing Annesley making her escape. Notice the look of glee on her face.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Peace in the Home

In our travels we have stayed with quite a few families. Here are some of my observations:

In families where peace reigns, we notice that the children have respect for Father and Mother. You can see it in their faces. The children want to please their parents. They know Father is in charge, and they look to him for answers. Father knows what is best. They know that their mother controls the household to serve their father, and they understand that father rules the family to serve the Lord. When children are made to understand the order and purpose of things, and they live out their role in that order and purpose — that is peace. Of course, wise parents rule and control their family and household with kindness and gentleness and tender loving care. They are fallen creatures themselves, and are not always wise. But the more the family matches the ideal, the more peace reigns.

In families where peace does not reign, we notice that the children lack respect for the Father and Mother. They know that their parents are intent on pleasing them, and they use this as a manipulative tool. The household revolves around the child and his likes or dislikes, his moods, his desires. When the child is displeased, uncomfortable, or inconvenienced, the parents consistently go out of their way to please the child. They think their little child is so smart, or cute, or witty. In other words, the order and purpose and roles of this family are inverted, and anything which might resemble peace for a moment is just a temporary lapse in the ongoing war over who is in charge.

--Harvey and Laura Bluedorn

Read the full article here.

Tonight's Entertainment Is.....

Watching Daddy set up our new tent in the basement. Sheesh...I think this thing's bigger than our first apartment.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last Thursday, my wonderful Mom-in-law flew in so that Kevin and I could attend our local annual homeschool conference. Kevin and I had a great time hearing the speakers and visiting with friends.

The keynote speaker this year was Michael Farris, and on Thursday night he spoke about the International Treaty for the Rights of the Child. What he had to say was truly frightening, and I don't just mean for the homeschooler. This is something every parent--every person--should know about and be actively fighting. The passage of this treaty will affect every parent's right to make decisions for their children's well being and protection. Go here and get involved in the grassroots movement to keep this nonsense from becoming legislation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Girls' Bible Study

This post is a bit overdue, but I wanted to share what Keely has done the past couple of months. In January, she came to me with the idea of having a bible study once a month for some of her friends. My very godly response was, "Okay, but I don't want to have to take on anything else. If you want to do it, you're gonna have to be in charge of all the planning and everything." But, despite my lack of enthusiastic encouragement, she charged ahead and set everything up. It's so wonderful to see one of your children have a desire to be a leader/encourager to her friends!

How do you nurture Christian leadership in your children?

Stacking sugar cubes for the tea

Donated plates---thanks, Jo!

Craft supplies ready to go

Sweet bunch of girls enjoying snacks

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lap Books with Little Ones

A couple of weeks ago, when the older two were busy with standardized testing, Row and Joe and I read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie together and made lapbooks. It was just right for Rowan, since she's good with scissors and there was a lot of cutting involved. Joseph liked the gluing part and putting stickers on, and I'm glad I included him, too. One of the things I did was have each child tell their own version of the story, beginning with "If you give a girl a cookie" or "If you give a boy a cookie." Joseph's made me laugh.

Lily and I also made a lapbook recently for Chrysanthemum. She really enjoyed the process and the activities were fun: everything from writing a poem using the first letters of your name, to talking about Bible verses that deal with kind words.
If you have some time and a good printer (thanks, Mom and Dad!), you might want to check out all the neat free lap books here.

Lapbooks aren't just for little ones, by the way. Keely and Noah each made one before the election last year.

All Dressed Up

Here are the kids on Easter morning. Isn't it funny how no matter how many pictures you take, the very first one is always the best? Things just tend to go downhill after the first 'cheeeese'... :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Help for the Grocery Budget

With a family of 8, I love to find ways to stretch our food dollars.  But, if you're like I was, the words "Bakery Outlet" made me think of stale white bread and gross sugary snack cakes; I wasn't interested in visiting one.  My friend Kim told me about the great deals she was getting on good bread, though, so I decided to try it out.  

I'm sold!  On my last visit, I bought tortilla chips (that we love), pre-made pizza crusts, and, of course, lots of bread.  The bread was soft and most of it was still a week away from the 'sell-by' date.  I put a lot of it in the freezer, and it should last us a couple of weeks.  The grand total for 14 items?  $15.96. Pretty good, don't ya think?  

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Meal Planning

I picked up this little magnetic meal-planning pad at Michael's in the dollar bin. I love having it on the fridge. The whole family knows what to expect, and it reminds me first thing in the morning to defrost meat or put something in the crock-pot. Anything that makes getting dinner on the table easier makes me happy!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

More on George Mueller

The kids and I are almost finished reading a biography of George Mueller's life in preparation for the play we're putting on with our homeschool co-op. Yesterday we read that Charles Dickens once visited the orphanage at Ashley Downs. He'd heard rumors that the orphanage was a terrible place where the children were treated like slaves and decided to investigate. George Mueller gave Mr. Dickens a set of keys and sent him off with an assistant, who was told to open any door that Mr. Dickens requested. Three hours later, the assistant returned with Charles Dickens, who was so satisfied and impressed with what he saw that he promised to write an article for publication to help dispel the false rumors.

At one point, when the orphanage was in need of yet another expansion, Mueller wrote in his journal:
"The greatness of the sum required affords me a kind of secret joy; for the greater the difficulty to be overcome, the more will it be seen to the glory of God how much can be done by prayer and faith."
The kids and I have really enjoyed reading YWAM missionary biographies aloud together. I highly recommend them.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ladies, Young and Old: Read This!

I stumbled upon this blog post this morning and was excited to share this reminder about modesty as the temperatures will be heating up soon. Funny, careful, but clear. Love it. And I'm motivated anew to lose those pounds that are making my jeans too tight lately. :)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Shack

So many people I know have read The Shack, but I'm opting not to because I can't get past the blasphemous depiction of the Trinity. I've heard people say, "It's only a fictional book", as if that makes it all okay. I've also had a friend tell me recently that reading it "changed her life". Which is it? A harmless work of fiction, or a palatable twisting of truth?

Here's a good review Kevin found that I want to share.

If you do choose to read the book, be like the Bereans:

these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ordinary Work

Ordinary work, which is what most of us do most of the time, is ordained by God every bit as much as is the extraordinary. All work done for God is spiritual work and therefore not merely a duty but a holy privilege.

Elisabeth Elliot